Proof That BJP, Its Policies Unacceptable to People: Omar Abdullah After LAHDC Poll Sweep
Voters waiting to cast votes for the 5th LAHDC Kargil elections, in Kargil, Wednesday. Image Courtesy: PTI
Srinagar: The success of the National Conference (NC) and Congress alliance in the hill council polls of Kargil, the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) parties say, is a clear message against the decisions by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) that abrogated Article 370 and divided the region into two Union Territories.
Omar Abdullah, vice-president of the NC, which is the largest party in the polls, called it a “resounding” verdict against the BJP and its “divisive” policies.
In the contest, the BJP could win only two seats. In comparison, the NC-Congress alliance emerged victorious on 22 seats out of the total 26 seats in the key Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil elections, which were held earlier on October 4. Independent candidates won the remaining two seats.
The officials said that the polls – held through 278 polling stations – recorded voting of 77.61% out of the total 95,388 voters, with as many as 74,026 exercising their right of franchise.
The former chief minister of J&K, during a presser in Srinagar on Monday, added that the defeat of BJP has also proven that the bifurcation of J&K and subsequent carving out of Ladakh is not acceptable to the people of Kargil as it was to the people of Kashmir. Abdullah, however, expressed that the results had made them less hopeful regarding holding elections in J&K.
“The ruling party is going to be more fearful about holding elections in J&K after facing the defeat in Kargil. The BJP will not have the courage to either hold assembly elections or panchayat elections,”
Abdullah also lashed out at the Election Commission of India (ECI), which informed on Monday that the elections in J&K will be held at the “right time”, keeping in view the security situation as it announced elections in five other states.
“If elections can be held in other states, why not in Kashmir? The people of Kashmir have a right to know what are the factors against the holding of elections as they are being denied their democratic rights,” he said.
The LAHDC-K polls being held for the fifth time in the Himalayan territory were the first since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A and the subsequent bifurcation of J&K in 2019. The decisions had since drawn widespread opposition from the people of Ladakh, especially Kargil, leading to protests and the creation of a coalition of various local social, political and religious groups seeking political and constitutional safety.
The victory of the NC-Congress alliance was celebrated by most parties in Kashmir, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI-M), stating that the results openly conveyed the “failure” of BJP following the abrogation of 370 and the split of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The stellar performance of NC-INC in LAHDC-Kargil polls has exposed in no uncertain terms the BJP's false narrative of development following the abrogation of Article 370 and split of J&K. The people of Ladakh have already voiced their disconnect and displeasure over the policies of current dispensation towards the region,” M Y Tarigami of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) wrote on X.
In a party statement, Abdullah added that the poll results should serve as a “wake-up call” for the BJP as he also called for the elections to be held in J&K. “It is time to cease hiding behind the Raj Bhawan and unelected representatives and, instead, acknowledge the people's rightful desire for a democratically elected government in Jammu and Kashmir. Democracy demands the voices of the people be heard and respected,” the statement read.
The council has 30 seats, out of which elections were held on 26 seats, while four councillors with voting rights are nominated by the administration. The council polls were rescheduled from September 10 to October 4 on the directions of the Supreme Court following a row over the use of the "plough" symbol by NC candidates due to objections from Ladakh’s LG administration. However, the apex court dismissed the Ladakh administration's plea on the issue and imposed a Rs 1 lakh fine against it.
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